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Gone, Manny, Gone

April 9, 2011

Manny Ramirez has announced his retirement. Why? Because the jackass flunked another drug test and retiring seemed like a better idea than serving a 100-game suspension.

Bobby Jenks was teammates with Manny Ramirez in Chicago last year. On Friday — a day Ramirez retired after being told of an issue that arose under MLB’s drug-testing policy — Jenks recalled Ramirez as “a great teammate” and “a really good guy”.

But when asked for his thoughts on Ramirez potentially failing a drug test for the second time, Jenks chose words that weren’t as complimentary.

“I look at it as this. You do it, you get caught, you’re an idiot. If you do it again you’re a dumbass,” said Jenks. “I mean, it’s sad to see. One of the greatest hitters, or one of them, to make the same mistake twice, same bad choice. And within a year and a half of each other? I don’t know, you know?”

Now I hate Boston, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Manny. He was a fantastic hitter, and his antics were just so bizarre that they had to be sincere, as fucked up as they often were. So Manny is dead, long live Manny.

Over the next days and weeks I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot of anecdotes like this one:

Last summer, while working on a story about Ramirez’s old teammate David Ortiz (another great slugger who failed a drug test), I went looking for Ramirez in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park, in the exceedingly optimistic hope that I might get him to engage, or at least prompt a reaction of some sort. (Years before, Ortiz had told me that Ramirez was “a crazy motherfucker,” who lives “in his own world, on his own planet.”) Ramirez wasn’t interested in talking, and he demonstrated as much by stretching out on a sofa and surfing channels with the remote control. He settled on CNN. It was Day 61 of the Gulf oil spill, but Ramirez evidently had not yet heard of it. He looked aghast at the images of burning water on the screen, and asked one of his teammates about them. When I muttered a quick question about Ortiz, he smiled and, without making eye contact, said, “The oil spill is leaking.” Then his teammate chimed in, laughing: “Yeah, why do you want to bother Manny when the oil spill is leaking?” Ramirez went two for four that afternoon, with a home run. It was the last home run I ever saw him hit, and, sadly, what may prove to be the second-to-last of his career.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2011 4:51 pm

    Was the drug test multiple choice or an essay? (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

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